A “cash-to-Bitcoin” money laundering scheme has been busted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. A New-York based individual was charged with operating a crypto scam that he publicly promoted on social media, bragging to his clients that he could help them stay “totally off the radar.” As per an announcement, the individual, a former party organiser and Goldman Sachs investment banker laundered a sum of $2.7 million (roughly Rs. 20.5 crore) in Bitcoin and cash to assist various customers in concealing money gained through allegedly illicit acts.
According to a Bloomberg report, a 42-year-old man named Thomas Spieker had been indicted along with his associates for utilising Bitcoin to assist a variety of illicit activities, including dark-web drug transactions. Based on a complaint, Spieker began conducting Google searches for the keyword “Bitcoin money laundering” in 2014 and published a Facebook post offering his services to persons who desired to remain totally undetected, knowing that they were engaging in behaviour that was deemed illicit by law.
The Manhattan DA alleged that between January 2018 and August 2021, Spieker with the help of his accomplices converted over $2.3 million (roughly Rs. 17.5 crore) into Bitcoin, and separately, more than $380,000 (roughly Rs. 3 crore) in Bitcoin into US Dollars, via “a rotating set of accomplices” who opened bank and crypto exchange accounts to enable the laundering of “criminal proceeds.”
“As alleged, this sprawling web of international money laundering helped drug traffickers, an organised crime ring, and scammers hide their criminal activity and transmit their proceeds around the globe,” DA Alvin Bragg said in the announcement. “This case shows us how new technologies like cryptocurrency can become key drivers of a wide range of criminal activity that can easily span across the globe.”
Spieker now faces multiple counts of unlicensed money transmission and money laundering and one of his accomplices, identified as Dustin Sites, has been charged for unlicensed money transmission. A host of Spieker’s clients, whom the prosecutor also investigated, face charges of running an illegal drug marketplace on the dark web and an identity theft scheme.
Meanwhile, Spieker’s LinkedIn profile lists his most recent jobs as a partner in a talent agency and the founder of the party production firm, ‘S!ck Productions’. Earlier in his career, he spent over two years as an equity derivatives specialist at Goldman Sachs.
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